The 42nd ACC Baseball Championship began play on Tuesday afternoon with a pair of play-in games at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. No.10 Georgia Tech faced No.7 seed Virginia in the opener and No.8 North Carolina against No.9 Virginia Tech in the second game.
The first day of action saw the favored teams win, with the ten-run rule going into effect following the seventh inning of an 11-0 Virginia win and North Carolina taking a 5-3 decision against the Hokies.
The Cavaliers, which have now won six straight, advance into pool play and will face No.2 seed Miami on Wednesday afternoon, while top-seeded Louisville will play North Carolina in day two's nightcap.
North Carolina, located is located just 20 minutes from the tournament site, has won at least one game in the conference tournament for five consecutive seasons and improves to 75-66 all-time in ACC Tournament play.
"We’re obviously thrilled to still be playing," said UNC head coach Mike Fox. "The team kept battling. We struggled a little bit down the stretch, but I was confident our team would come in here and play hard. And we did just enough."
The win broke a three-game losing streak for North Carolina, which improved to 33-22 on the season and remains hopeful of a NCAA postseason bid.
"I’m still not sure we’re in," said Fox. "I just wanted my team to come over and really be competitive and try to relax and play a full nine innings and kind of let the chips fall where they may. It is what it is. Elimination game, so I didn’t want to take any chances here."
Wednesday's meeting will mark just the third time that the Cardinals and Tar Heels have met on the diamond, with North Carolina winning all three. The two last met at the 2007 College World Series, a 3-1 Tar Heel win.
The U of L v. UNC game will serve as the final game on day two of the conference tournament, with first pitch set for 7 p.m.
"I have no idea who is going to start right now," said Fox. "I’ll figure all that out tonight. Obviously we’re playing a great team, one of the best teams in the country. Great challenge for our players, I think. We don’t have too many weaknesses. They run. They pitch well. We’ll have to play pretty much a perfect game, I think, to have a chance to win."
No.4 seed Florida State will play No.5 seed Clemson to begin Wednesday's play, followed by No.2 Miami versus No.7 Virginia.
- Attendance in the opener was 2,614, with 3,370 attending the second game.
- Clemson (105), NC State (80) and Georgia Tech (77) are the all-time ACC tournament wins leaders.
- Virginia improves to 55-67 all-time in ACC Tournament play, including a 17-10 mark at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
- Over its last three games, Virginia is hitting .384 (40-for-104) with four doubles and two home runs.